It's no secret that being a young person in the UK is incredibly tough right now, especially if you're a student or come from a lower-income household. The cost of living crisis has exacerbated financial difficulties for many. The rising costs of housing, food, and education, coupled with stagnant wages, make financial stability seem like a distant dream. However, there's a silver lining in these challenging times – you have the power to put your best interests first. Let's explore some practical steps to take care of yourself during these trying times.
1. Seek Support from Local and National Resources
If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, don't hesitate to reach out to local and national support networks. Food banks and charities can provide essential help when you need it most. Places like The Trussell Trust and FareShare offer food assistance, and numerous local charities are ready to lend a hand. There's no shame in asking for help; these resources exist to assist individuals facing financial hardships.
2. Prioritize Your Mental Well-Being
The current situation can be incredibly intimidating, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Social media often showcases the glamorous lives of celebrities and individuals with significantly higher incomes, which can be distressing when you're struggling to make ends meet. If you find such content triggering or disheartening, consider reducing your exposure to it. Unfollow or mute accounts that consistently make you feel inadequate. Instead, focus on content that uplifts, educates, or provides a positive perspective on life.
3. Practice Self-Compassion
It's essential to be kind to yourself during these difficult times. Remember, you're not alone in facing these challenges. Your situation is temporary, and you will get through it. The road to financial stability may be long, but it's not insurmountable. Give yourself credit for the resilience you've shown in managing your finances and taking steps to improve your situation.
4. Budget and Seek Financial Aid
Crafting a budget remains a fundamental step in taking control of your finances. Especially for students or those with lower incomes, knowing where your money is going is crucial. Be meticulous in tracking your expenses and seek ways to reduce non-essential spending. And, if budgeting and working with numbers doesn't come naturally to you, there are lots of resources out there including speaking to Citizen's Advice or utilising online resources.
If you're struggling with rent, bills, or food, explore the financial assistance programs available in your area. The UK government and local authorities offer various schemes to provide support, and you may be eligible for benefits or grants that can alleviate some of your financial stress.
5. Focus on Education and Future Planning
For students, investing in their education can be one of the most promising avenues for securing a better future. Seek out scholarships, bursaries, or part-time work to support your studies. It might be challenging, but often times it's a step towards a more financially secure future.
Remember that the cost of living crisis is not a reflection of your worth. The situation can be discouraging, but it's important to keep your goals in mind. Plan for your future, save what you can, and focus on building a strong financial foundation for the long term.
In summary, the cost of living crisis is a tough situation, especially for young people, students, and those with lower incomes. But you're not alone, and there are ways to help yourself. Reach out to local resources, take care of your mental well-being, be kind to yourself, and plan for a better future. Your tough situation won't last forever, and with determination and support, you can come out of it stronger and better with your finances. Remember, you have the strength to face these challenges.